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Clariel: The Lost Abhorsen (The Old Kingdom) Hardcover – October 14, 2014

Book 4 of 4 in the Abhorsen Trilogy Series

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Product Details

  • Series: The Old Kingdom (Book 4)
  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; 1st edition (October 14, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 006156155X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061561559
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (165 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,919 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


“Between striking characters-from the heroic if not entirely competent young Abhorsen-in-Waiting, Belatiel, to the enigmatic, catlike Mogget-and Nix’s brilliantly complex magic system, this superb tale is exactly the book fans of the series have been awaiting.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review))

“Clariel is a deeply sympathetic character faced with complicated choices, the consequences of which are frighteningly uncertain as she is pulled between the wild Free Magic and the disciplined Charter. A bittersweet story.” (Booklist (starred review))

“Beautifully written, magnificently imagined, and wholly original, Clariel is Garth Nix’s finest work yet.” (Holly Black, New York Times bestselling author of The Coldest Girl in Coldtown)

“The old magic returns in this sterling prequel to one of YA’s classic series.” (Scott Westerfeld, New York Times bestselling author of the Uglies series and Afterworlds)

“A brilliant return to the Old Kingdom--one of the most exciting and original magical worlds ever devised.” (Alison Goodman, New York Times bestselling author of Eon and Eona)

“A thunderstorm of a tale, bitter and brutal but dazzling in its ferocity.” (Kirkus Reviews)

“Nix pens a compelling character in Clariel while his skill in rendering both politics and magic is strong. This excellent work can be enjoyed independently of the other Old Kingdom novels, but will certainly draw readers to those works.” (School Library Journal (starred review))

“Nix’s tale provides a complete experience unto itself. But his focus on this strong character whose overriding passion is to go her own way provides a hugely satisfying background to the other Abhorsen books. A suspenseful prequel to the much-loved Abhorsen books, showcasing the independent Clariel.” (Shelf Awareness (starred review))

“Fans will treasure this long-awaited opportunity to return to a much-loved world, built with as much originality and richness as ever.” (Horn Book Magazine)

Praise for SABRIEL:“Sabriel is a winner, a fantasy that reads like realism. Here is a world with the same solidity and four dimensional authority as our own, created with invention, clarity, and intelligence. I congratulate Garth Nix. And I look forward to reading his next piece of work.” (Philip Pullman)

Praise for LIRAEL:“What makes Lirael a delight is the magic that Nix brings to his story and to his characters.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review))

“Riveting.” (Kirkus Reviews (starred review))

Praise for ABHORSEN:“Breathtaking, bittersweet, and utterly unforgettable.” (Kirkus Reviews (starred review))

From the Back Cover

Clariel is the daughter of one of the most notable families in the Old Kingdom, with blood relations to the Abhorsen and, most importantly, to the King. When her family moves to the city of Belisaere, there are rumors that her mother is next in line for the throne. However, Clariel wants no part of it—a natural hunter, all she ever thinks about is escaping the city's confining walls and journeying back to the quiet, green world of the Great Forest.

But many forces conspire against Clariel's dream. A dangerous Free Magic creature is loose in the city, her parents want to marry her off to a killer, and there is a plot brewing against the old and withdrawn King Orrikan. When Clariel is drawn into the efforts to find and capture the creature, she finds hidden sorcery within herself, yet it is magic that carries great dangers. Can she rise above the temptation of power, escape the unwanted marriage, and save the King?

In Clariel, New York Times bestselling author Garth Nix weaves a story that is as rich and compelling as the original Abhorsen novels. Clariel, prelude to the Abhorsen trilogy, is set approximately six hundred years before the birth of Sabriel. Devoted Old Kingdom fans and new readers alike will clamor for this epic fantasy adventure.

Customer Reviews

Not only is Garth Nix an amazing writer, his world is incredibly well thought out and magical.
I recommend this book without reservation to fans of the series, and also to newcomers who are interested in fantasy.
Michael Mccracken
My main complaint is that the plot was exceptionally slow to get started, and the story felt cut off at the end.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 35 people found the following review helpful By J. Irish on October 12, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
Garth Nix's latest Old Kingdom story sends us back in time, to a rather different world just as delightful as the one he created in 1995.

As Sabriel (Book 1 from the original trilogy) opened, the Old Kingdom represented a shattered society, and the following two volumes portrayed the efforts of the people to reclaim their land and shape it into something that would once again endure.

The great value of Clariel is the way in which it reveals the author's vision of that culture as it stood on the brink of its decline. Superficially ordered and urbane, it nevertheless has begun to show seething undercurrents of resentment and dissatisfaction. The Royal Family and Abhorsens have neglected their duties far too long, eroding the fabric of the Charter itself. Sensing this weakness, sinister Free Magic agents seek to exploit it, so that they can come into power once more. These events unfold for the reader through the lens of 17-year-old Clariel, an unhappy young woman whose goals conflict with what her parents want for her... and for themselves.

I, personally, like all that behind-the-scenes origin story stuff a lot. And that certainly applies to Clariel. However, it must be noted that a lot of the world-building is expressed through long passages of exposition or expository dialogue, and the pacing sometimes drags as a result. Moreover, the tiresome teenage angst from Lirael (Book 2) shows up here in spades. And I'm not going to lie. It's very, very tiresome. Such passages occupy a substantial portion of the first half of the book.

But once you reach the halfway point, it suddenly becomes quite exciting indeed.
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39 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Rabid Reader on October 18, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am, as the title says, entirely unimpressed. I waited for this book for years and I was eager to return to the Old Kingdom. It's always been such a refreshing place to visit. Garth Nix has always been so talented in creating female characters that have fortitude, strength and yet are so real and someone I can imagine as my friend. I've been a huge fan for more than 15 years. I was ready, oh-so-ready, to read a book that was just 'right.' I didn't know where it was going to take me, I was just sure it was going to take me to the right place, at the right time.

Well, I don't know what went wrong here but I think it might just have been 'everything.' Characters, plot, writing, editing and even the setting just didn't work.

Clariel is whiny, rude, capricious, callous, short-sighted, lacking in depth and dimension. I couldn't identify with her. She's the kind of person I wouldn't actively choose to talk to had I met her in real life. I know that sometimes book characters are supposed to bother the reader as a literary effect, but this went far beyond that. She's also described as slim, with a boyish frame, or sometimes even described as having a boy's body which is one of my pet peeves in YA books with female main characters. Between her attitude, portrayal and body-descriptions, Clariel comes across as another supposed female main character that is more like a cranky, spoiled, effeminate young boy in need of an attitude adjustment than a real female character.

The supporting cast is similarly flat and uncompelling. The book strongly features a tough Captain of the Guard, an Eccentric Magician, Ladder-Climbing parents and a boring but serviceable 'friend.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Caroline Luu on October 14, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Length: 0:57 Mins
If you like all of Garth Nix's Old Kingdom books (Sabriel (Abhorsen), Lirael: Daughter of the Clayr, and Abhorsen), you'll like the newest one about Clariel. In it, we get to learn the back story of a character mentioned in Lirael, though she is a minor character. It is a quick peek at the Kingdom prior to Sabriel. We get to learn more about the King's Court in Belisaere. We get to revisit the Great Charter and meet new characters. What's really great about this book is the history of courtly manners and the structure of the Old Kingdom. We mostly see Ancelstierre and the Abhorsen's surroundings in the other books. This takes us to the forest with more commoners.

Just like we learned of the office of the Abhorsen wih Sabriel and Remembrancing and the Clayr with Lirael, we get to learn about Free Magic with Clariel. I recommend buying it.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Irene on October 19, 2014
Format: Hardcover
I've just finished reading the whole book and the only thing that comes to mind is utter disappointment..complete and utter disappointment, which feels like someone just sucker punched me in the gut. Seems like I've been waiting forever for this book to come out, even re-read the first 4 books for the 20th time.
Some other reviewer said the first half of the book was boring. Damn right it was but I persevered through, still with high hopes that something wonderful was just a few more pages away. But...
"Clariel" feels like it had been thrown together in a couple of months. Sad to say, even "Creature in the Case" beats it hands down. The character Clariel is so flat, it grated on my nerves how she whines about the luxury she's in and how she longs to roll on the grass in some forest far away...from chapter 1 til the very end. Her parents are also so stereotyped. There's just no character growth. Through the whole book these characters remain so distant that I don't feel connected to them in the sense that I'm just going through the motion of flipping the pages in a hurry to reach the end.

*Spoiler* If any of you are expecting the grand making of the powerful ancient necromancer in the'll be as sorely disappointed as I am..
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More About the Author

Garth Nix has worked as a bookseller, book sales representative, publicist, editor, marketing consultant and literary agent. He also spent five years as a part-time soldier in the Australian Army Reserve. A full-time writer since 2001, more than five million copies of his books have been sold around the world and his work has been translated into 40 languages. Garth's books have appeared on the bestseller lists of The New York Times, Publishers Weekly (US), The Bookseller(UK), The Australian and The Sunday Times (UK). He lives in Sydney, Australia, with his wife and two children.

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